•March 18, 2013 • 1 Comment
The hot topic in Detroit these days is Kwame Kilpatrick found guilty of several counts of racketeering and bribery. Many will see March 12th as a turning point in Detroit history. I don’t see it that way. Some see it as a sad day for the City of Detroit. I don’t see it that way either.
I watched the trial with some interest. I couldn’t help it. The news wouldn’t talk about anything else. Where ever Kwame went, there were cameras capturing his every step. Those steps will turn out to be some of his last as a free man. Kwame knew this day was coming. The Federal Government had been watching him since 2002. The evidence was overwhelming. All he could do was lower his head and place his hand on his forehead. Kwame once claimed “It will be impossible for me to get a fair trial in Detroit. I would come out better if they hung me from that giant fist downtown”. The reality of the situation dealt him a crushing blow. The king of Detroit has fallen.
I lowered my head and put my hand on my forehead as well. Why? Because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing afterwards. I understood those who sympathized with Kwame. Outside of his mischief, Kwame was a very charismatic and hands on mayor(No pun intended). He made himself accessible to the public and helped bring the Super Bowl to Detroit. Dave Bing Recently turned down an opportunity for Detroit to host the Olympics. Detroit was blissfully happy while Kwame was in office. The recession proved that Detroit’s Bliss overshadowed its ever-increasing debt.
What I didn’t understand was the media blaming Detroit’s problems all on Kwame. I watched as news broadcast after news broadcast covered the verdict as if Detroit had finally won a war against its worst enemy. Some stations went as far to proclaim this day as a victory for Detroit. How? I don’t see any winners. Detroit is still broke and Kwame lost his freedom. Channel 7 news said that including Kwame, 35 people have been indicted under his administration. As they scrolled the names of the people and their charge or charges across the screen, I made a observation. They included City Council members and a few of their appointees as well. City Council members are elected by the people, not Kwame. At least 20 of the 35 mentioned had nothing to do with Kwame’s corruption case. Yet the news says it’s all under Kwame. This reporting has some people convinced that Detroit is where it is today because of Kwame.
I have a hard time believing that one man caused Detroit to be in the condition that it is in today. Kwame Kilpatrick stepped down in September of 2008. So in 4 1/2 years nobody did anything to improve the city of Detroit. Blaming Kwame should have ended a long time ago. Now the Verdict for Detroit: Guilty and sentenced to an Emergency Financial Manager for 18 months. Holla if you hear me!
•September 11, 2012 • 2 Comments
There are people in Detroit that very seldom get the recognition they deserve. Crime and Kwame Kilpatrick seem to dominate the news these days and there is no room for good people. I want to change that. Today I want to tell you about someone who does a lot of good in the city of Detroit not to mention extremely talented! That person is Ber-henda Williams.
Ber-henda is known throughout the city as one of our top poets. She has several books to her credit and dazzles audiences by performing in both English and Spanish. Ber-henda also hosts a reality show titled “B in the City”. Her most notable achievement is founding the The Power of Girlhood girls mentoring program. In this program, Ber-henda uses poetry to inspire girls in the areas of self-esteem, education, and setting goals. Most importantly, she also stresses an important relationship with God. No matter where she performs or who she speaks to, her faith is always at the fore front.
“I want to change how people view poetry, ” said Williams. “Some say it’s a dead art form, but not in Detroit. It’s poetry that’s relatable, to help answer questions about God, Faith and Life.
This Thursday September 13 at Artist Villiage, you get to see that firsthand. There will be a special performance of “One Night With The Honey B and Friends” hosted by Khary Kimani Turner. Ber-henda will be unleashing poetry, inspiration, and praise along with her friends: Walter(HAZMAT)Howard, Rosemarie Wilson (One Single Rose), and Nathan “Drizzle” Johnson. I am also hearing whispers of a surprise guest or two. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door (See the link below). The best thing about the prices, is the fact that a portion of the proceeds go to Power of Girlhood girls mentoring program! The show is from 6pm-9pm so that makes it the perfect afterwork event. Artist Village is located at 17340 Lahser Rd Detroit,MI 48219 near Grand River. I advise everyone to check this out!!! This is Hollaifyouhearme.com approved!
For Tickets and info:
•August 17, 2012 • Leave a Comment
I remember my first conversation with Kwame Kilpatrick. I was at the union hall of my former place of employment. My former co-workers and I were on strike and Kwame, Mayor of Detroit at that time came out to show his support. Since then, both of us have lost our jobs. I lost mine to the economy. His own debauchery cost him his. Tonight, five years later, our paths have crossed once again. At a hotel ballroom in Detroit, The Detroit Chapter of National Association of Black Journalist (DC-NABJ) had him front and center. Thank God I am a member!
He didn’t have to do this. He faced the press on many occasion before he moved to Dallas. There is no doubt that he will face the press again during his upcoming federal trial. However, this time it will be quite different. Kwame promised this session will be no holds barred, any question answered! So I wasn’t surprised to see all the well-known white journalists who filled out membership applications, and paid the fee to be a black journalist for one night. Kwame was his usual charismatic self, but his message was very much unusual.
Everyone in the room expected him to elaborate on cheating on his wife, Tamara Greene (Which he says that he never met her), and his restitution payments. Instead, his mind was on the future…Detroit’s future and his own. He stressed how sorry he was for his actions while in office, yet he is adamant that he is not responsible for Detroit’s current state. He also says that he wants to help Detroit move forward. Kwame believes that unless that people lets go of blaming him for Detroit’s current condition, they will never identify Detroit’s problems. He said “I want to reintroduce myself the best way I know how; for those who are still angry with me.”
I will tell you how he did Next Week in Part 2 of “Kwame Kilpatrick: Front and Center” Holla if you hear me!
- K. Greene
•June 20, 2012 • Leave a Comment
I bet before you got your first car or motorcycle, you were passionate about your first bicycle! I still remember mine. It was an all black Huffy dirt bike and took on whatever terrain I decided to travel. That first bike is a kid’s first taste of independent transportation. Suddenly, a whole new world opens up.
This Saturday July 14th from 3pm – Dusk at the Belle Isle Bandshell, Project A.R.T. will give away bikes to metro Detroit kids at their first annual: “YaPeoples Day Hip-Hop Fest and Bike to Summer School Rally”. There will be refreshments, games, and a DJ. Belle Isle Bandshell will be rockin as local artist take to the stage and show their stuff! In between performances, Project A.R.T. will raffle off one of the many donated bikes they have received. Project A.R.T. believes that these bikes will help kids get back and forth to school without being dependant on an unreliable bus system. Furthermore, the bikes will help keep kids healthy and fit. The day will be topped off by a performance by R&B recording artist Shanice!! She will be performing her hit single “I Like Your Smile”! I urge everyone to go out and take part in this event Saturday. If you know a child in need of a bike, bring them!!
My hat is off to the folks at Project A.R.T.!! K.D., Sista Sayre, and Jeana Tall! Its times like these where the true leaders in our community step up. I told K.D. I thought what they were doing was Great! He said “Naw, YaPeoples is doing this”. I like how he put it! Holla if you hear me!
For more info or donations contact;
Sista Sayre (313) 600-3809
•May 24, 2012 • 1 Comment
If you have been following hollaifyouhearme.com for the past year, you would know how much I love the Belle Isle Aquarium. Belle Isle Aquarium is the source of fond childhood memories for many metro Detroiters. The field trips, the family outings, an early afternoon date through this building brought smiles to all. Even the vast array of fish that called this place home, seem to enjoy the endless parade of human beings that passed their windows. In 2005, the Aquarium was closed due to city budget cuts. Since then, a valiant group of volunteers known as The Friends of Belle Isle Aquarium have refused to let the historic building die. Their efforts have not gone un-noticed. On February 4th, 2012, a little over 4,000 people came out for a one time reopening of the aquarium. It was a great start but much more is needed and you can be a part of it. Also, you can have a great time in the process!
Thursday May 31st, Belle Isle Aquarium is having a fundraiser from 7pm-11pm. There will be hors d’oeuvres provided by many of Detroit’s top restaurants including The Whitney and Union Street. There will also be magicians, Detroit fire performers, and burlesque dancers. Not to mention, plenty of music! Tickets are $50 and available at the door. Do not let the price scare you off! All proceeds will go directly to Belle Isle Aquarium! Restoring the Belle Isle Aquarium is very important. We must keep this historic building open and operating better than ever for all to enjoy! Holla if you hear me!
•April 27, 2012 • Leave a Comment
As a member of the Motown Writers Network, I look forward to our monthly meetups. The amount of information and support that I get from my fellow writers is enormous. We also spend a huge amount of time networking at these meetings resulting in powerful collaborations.
April is our poetry month so we decided to invite our friends and literary cousins Poetry, Pages, and Scribes to our monthly meetup. We also had the pleasure of Ber-Henda Williams, host of the YouTube show “B in the City” who is also a powerful poet in her own right hosting it. As an added bonus, the representatives from poetry power plants Nandi’s Knowledge Cafe and Manila Bay Cafe were present. The host of the newest poetry venue 1917 American Bistro made sure it wasn’t left out. It was cool to have Detroit’s best writers, poets, and the venues that have shown us love, together in one place. This doesn’t happen often. This was shaping up to be the biggest literary gathering since our Literary Jam and Conference last November!
At the halfway point of the meetup, a massive networking session ensued. Poets and Writers exchanged business cards and ideas in a flurry of chatter. Many of us were already fans of each others work, but today, we had the opportunity to express our appreciation for each other’s work and discuss opportunities to create together. We also shared our struggles with the creative process as well, new bonds were being formed among Detroit’s top literary minds. There was a powerful positive energy in the air and it charged every body in the room! A few of the poets even blessed us by performing some of their stellar pieces: including our gracious host.
When the meeting ended, the networking resumed and many of us hung around to forge bonds and friendships. After talking to a few people, I found myself pinned against a wall admiring the scene. Detroit is in dire need of a shot in the arm. Something that could raise the spirits of its citizens and get them through these dark days. That shot may come from the artist assembled here; and many here in this cafe are up to the challenge.
This Saturday morning in Detroit may go down in history as the start of the new Detroit Literary Movement.
Just remember that you hear it here first! Holla if you hear me!
•March 24, 2012 • Leave a Comment
AT 17 I HAD BIG DREAMS,
I HAD A GIRLFRIEND; I MADE THE THE FOOTBALL TEAM,
I HAD A FAMILY THAT LOVED ME.
I HAD ONLY A PACK OF SKITTLES AND AN ICED TEA.
I DIDN’T KNOW WHY HE WAS CHASING ME.
I DON’T KNOW WHY HE IGNORED MY PLEAS.
THERE HE SHOT ME AND THERE I LAY.
THE POLICE CAME OUT SAID EVERYTHING IS OKAY.
WHY DO I HAVE TO DIE?
WHY DOES HE GO FREE?
I AM TRAYVON MARTIN…WHERE IS THE JUSTICE FOR ME?
•March 7, 2012 • 2 Comments
Greetings people!!! I hope everyone is still praying for our city. Judging by the news, we need it now more than ever. I know many of you are angry and discouraged by the actions of a few, but good people still make up the majority of our city. Now, onto the business at hand!
In a prior blog I envisioned 2012 as a big year for Michigan artists. It appears that I was right. Kai Mann released “30 Day Notice” and Andrea Daniel released “Like Gwendolyn” earlier this year. Both books received great reviews. Also, the anticipated Indie film “Sext Messaging” began filming here in Detroit; at the end of February. However, March is bringing in the big guns!
Motown Writer’s Network founder Sylvia Hubbard is releasing her latest book, “Hope Is Love”. This Saturday, March 10th, you can get your hands on a copy and meet with Sylvia at Tom’s Oyster Bar on Jefferson in Downtown Detroit. Sylvia has published 28 books prior to this one and promises to release at least one more before the year is over. This is pretty extra-ordinary for a single mother of three!
March also has another female powerhouse throwing around her literary weight. Fresh off tour performing in the Netherlands with the Dutch group Wunderbraun, poet and singer Rosemarie Wilson is ready to release her second book entitled “Out of Darkness into Light”; and I had the pleasure of reviewing this book ahead of time. If you want to know what I thought of it, you can read my review on the back cover of the book! Also, on March 16th at Manila Bay Café, Rosemarie Wilson will be hosting her Birthday/Book Signing and Release Party. I will definitely be in the building!!
This year is starting off great for our authors and artists, but I have one question, where are our male authors? C’mon fellas, let’s step it up… Including me!!!! I am currently working on my debut piece, but in the meantime, let’s support our entire family of Detroit artists. Only by supporting each other can we become great as a whole! Holla if you hear me!!
•February 28, 2012 • 12 Comments
I come to you on behalf of thousands who are in need. For all those who have lost much and gained little. For all those who have worked hard but rewarded with less. For every man, woman, and child in Detroit abused or distressed.
I pray for their hearts: May they be strengthened. That they remain encouraged and strong in weathering our social and financial storm. So they may find comfort in one another.
I pray for their minds: May they be open to change. Stimulate their thirst for knowledge and wisdom.
I pray for their homes: May they be allowed to keep them. They need a safe place to rest their weary bodies and minds. A place to shield and nurture their children. Keep the greed of banks at bay. Instruct the banks in the ways of forgiveness and mercy.
Lord I pray for the Police and Fire Departments that you may bless their work. Let them know that they are making a difference in spite of the pay cuts and sacrifices they had to make.
I pray for the prosperity of my city. We need back the jobs that were taken by greed and selfishness. We need our school system returned to health so our children can be inspired by new books and teachers. May old tattered books be a thing of the past. Pass your blessings to teachers willing to teach and instruct our children. I pray that your hand spreads throughout our streets and wipe away the stench of murder and grief. That tears of sorrow be replaced by smiles of hope. I pray that differences be put aside and instead of hands grabbing weapons; hands working together for the good of us all! In all these things I pray, AMEN!
Pray if you hear me!
– K. Greene
•November 14, 2011 • 2 Comments
February 4th was an ordinary day for most , but for the Belle Isle Aquarium, it was the most important day since it’s closing in 2005. For one day only they were open with actual fish; donated from various private collections. Although they only had eight tanks up and running, the most important thing on the minds of the volunteers, was giving life to one of Detroit’s most cherished landmarks. The volunteers worked long and hard to give the aquarium a proper spit and polish. Belle Isle Conservatory Board Member Vance Patrick has been a long time champion for the aquarium and told me “We got in panic mode 6 months ago.” Patrick along with curator Gary Balduc made sure that the tanks were in tip-top shape for their aquatic inhabitants. All the hard work paid off as Mr. Patrick opened the front door to the aquarium and over 5o faces peered at him through the glass; anxious to enter.
The people kept coming and coming. In the first hour, 400 people made their way through the doors and the line increased by the minute. People in Detroit were finally getting a piece of their history back and they were not going to miss their chance to experience it. The weather was beautiful and it made standing in line that much easier. Some waited over an hour. Gabriel Girard of Detroit said “It’s worth the wait; I don’t know when I will get a chance to go in again.” The line moved steadily until 2pm, then it was time to feed the Shark and the crowd gathered to observe the impressive specimen in action. The aquatic themed artwork that decorated the unoccupied tanks was also impressive.
The Aquarium was buzzing once again but not everyone got a chance to come inside. While on a special tour of the bowels of the aquarium, I received a call from my cousin Karen who informed me that the line was extremely long and down the block and she doubted that she could get inside before the Aquarium closed. I felt bad for her because she drove all the way from Ypsilanti and didn’t get a chance to enjoy the Aquarium as we did as kids and I could hear the disappointment in her voice. I could easily tell that she wasn’t the only one. As time drew near to close, some people felt like my cousin Karen and left the line to make their way to their vehicles. Many looked back while walking hoping to get another chance one day. That is my hope as well.
At the end of the day, over 4,000 people got a chance to go inside of the Belle Isle Aquarium. Many of them put a dollar or two in the donation box, giving what they could to help keep the aquarium going. Other organizations around metro Detroit also came and showed their support. One patron even offered to install Wi-fi in the building; free of charge. Donations given were not enough to fund the complete re-opening of the Belle Isle Aquarium. And unfortunately given Detroit’s financial situation, chances of receiving additional funds from the city to re-open are also slim. But there is hope.
On February 4th, Metro Detroiters joined with the volunteers of Belle Isle Aquarium to show that we want our aquarium back! Vance Patrick and his team of volunteers continue to maintain the Aquarium on a daily basis. And they continue to seek donations and explore all avenues to secure funds to re-open. I pray that we all get our aquarium back soon! Holla if you hear me!
•July 28, 2011 • 13 Comments
I went to Lutheran High West in Detroit, MI. In 4 yrs, I made a lot of friends. Ayana was one of those friends. She was such a good friend; we kept in touch whenever possible. Facebook helped a lot! Our conversations are a melting pot of where we been, our kids, the people who love us, and the ones that missed out. The usual catching up between old classmates. One conversation I have always avoided was the subject of her ailment. I don’t like to bring up troubling issues. I always try to keep my friend’s mind off unpleasant things. That changed one day. She sent me a link to a movie that totally blew my mind! I had to call her and ask “What the HELL?!”. It was her way of letting me know she was ready to talk about it. Not only that. She wants everybody to know.
The movie was about a young lady who came down with an unexpected disease. No warnings, no sneezing, coughing, or fever. Just the slow deterioration of muscle movement to the point where her family was sure she would not survive. Hope was all but lost until a diagnosis turned everything around. Tests revealed that her body produced high levels of anti-bodies that attack one’s muscle neurons. Also tests were done to check “specific” muscle weakness through repetitive nerve stimulation. She had a severe case of Myastenia Gravis. Myastenia Gravis is not contagious, nor is it hereditary but it is extremely random! It mostly affects women under 40 yrs old and men over 60 yrs old. However, it can occur at any age and race is a non-factor. Muscle weakness is common in 90% of all illnesses and weak eyes or ”Cock Eye” is not a sure-fire way to tell if some one has Myastenia Gravis. This is one deceptive disease! Most people go 2 yrs before they are diagnosed, eluding patient and doctor alike!
It all started for Ayana in 1997 when all of a sudden, she could not look down. An M.R.I. turned up nothing and her symptoms went away. Relieved, Ayana went about her normal life appearing none the worse for wear. One morning in 2000 changed all of that. She awoke with one eye closed and the other crossed! An M.R.I. wasn’t going to satisfy her this time and this was ten times more terrifying! It seems that her ordeal in ’97 was only a small piece of a bigger picture. Her condition kept doctors guessing. She went to 3 different doctors before she was finally diagnosed with Myastenia Gravis in 2001. We call it MG. The Doctor’s visits are often and unsettling. I mean, how would you feel if doctors call interns into the room like you were a medical oddity? MG is a neuromuscular disorder which causes chronic weakness. The name itself comes from a Greek translation meaning “Grave Weakness”. The movie she sent me was one of the more extreme cases. Ayana’s symptoms are considered normal. Muscle fasciculations or “Twitches” are common. Also she is often fatigued and subject to blackouts. Ayana’s eyes won’t move depending on the severity of her flare-up. Heat has become her enemy. Having MG makes it difficult to enjoy a warm summer day. A heat wave is unbearable for you and I but for her, it is crippling. MG does not stop one from living a full life or holding down a job. Ayana’s job allows her to work from home whenever symptoms become overwhelming. These days understanding bosses are rare and Ayana’s have been nothing short of supportive. Every bit helps.
Ayana shared her story with me to help her friends. Friends she would probably never see face to face but share her disease. She feels that raising awareness is the only way to ensure that more research is done. The quality of life for those with this disease is depending on it. Hopefully, one day something can be done to make diagnosis faster. Or maybe a cure! In the meantime, hopefully we are all a little wiser after reading this blog. Myastenia Gravis is not a widely known disease but it should be. Holla if you hear me!
For More Info:
Myastenia Gravis Fact Sheet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/myasthenia_gravis/detail_myasthenia_gravis.htm#179993153
The Movie “Mute Mannequin”: http://youtu.be/4EX2u8–YVg (Copy and Paste the link into your browser)
Facebook Support Group:http://www.facebook.com/groups/6126913853?ap=1
•March 8, 2013 • 2 Comments
I took some time away to sit back and observe my hometown. I watched as Detroiters walked like zombies through Thanksgiving and Christmas. Although most of us found jobs near the end of 2012, nobody is making what they use to. We were ecstatic to see 2013! All the negative press of the 2012 hung around us like thick morning fog and we were anxious to put it behind us. Yet here in March, the future of Detroit is still very much unclear.
Detroit has now been officially declared a financial disaster area. Governor Snyder is set to announce an Emergency Financial Manager for the city of Detroit any day now even though the Emergency Financial Manager law was voted down in elections last November. How you like that for democracy? It wasn’t like City Council and previous 3 Mayors didn’t know the city was going broke. It just seems like every other bit of foolishness was more important. Like chasing women, fighting with each other, and listening to Marvin Winans complain about strip clubs. City Council is now fighting to keep an Emergency Financial Manager out of Detroit while current Mayor Dave Bing is opening the door. The City Council feels it Detroit doesn’t need a EFM (Emergency Financial Manager) and can fix its financial problems on its own. If that is true, this should have been prevented a long time ago. The current City Council should put more effort into finding solutions and let those solutions speak for themselves. Mayor Bing has acknowledged that Detroit needs help and has conceded that an EFM maybe necessary. In short, what Governor Snyder wants, Governor Snyder gets. This has made Bing very unpopular among Detroit’s citizens.
The people have a right to be upset. Not only with Mayor Bing, but also City Council. And not just current Mayor and City Council, past elected officials as well. Can’t blame it all on Kwame. Detroit is too large to operate at a loss for so long. Once the economy took a downturn, Detroit became a dry riverbed with all its flaws exposed. Now in 2013, the citizens must be forced to lie in that bed. Holla if you hear me.
•August 25, 2012 • Leave a Comment
I have to admit when Kwame opened the question and answer session by saying “Let’s get it on!”, I expected a Q & A of epic proportions. Kwame was offering himself for every journalist in the room to feast on. I could see the look in the eyes of my fellow journalists. They were hungry and their pens were at the ready. What did we get? Slim pickings. Kwame did not waver. He answered each question comfortably and completely. His answers did not bear anymore information that wasn’t already known. The only time he seemed slightly rattled is when he was asked questions concerning his mom, former State Representative Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick. This was understandable. He explained it to all in the room. ” The two worst days of my life.” as the former mayor recalls, “The first was explaining the affair to my kids and the second was laying in a prison cell knowing that my mom lost the election because of me”.
The remorse on his face was apparent. He said it was at that point when he realized what his actions cost the city. His mother had done so much for the city of Detroit and now that champion for the city is out of office. He said at that time, “I cried like a baby”. It finally got to him. The disappointment the citizens of Detroit felt in his actions, he now felt in himself. It was that moment that opened his eyes. He began to realize what he had and how much damage his decisions had done.
Kwame spends his time speaking around the country. Even speaking at T.D. Jake’s “ManPower” conference. Kwame maintain that he wants to help young men avoid the path he took. He feels that he didn’t deal with his inner demons before he got into office and they got the better of him. Kwame maintains that this cost him more than anything, Not youth or inexperience. To this day, Kwame maintains that he cannot be forgiven here in Detroit. It doesn’t matter how much he claims that he has changed. Kwame said “I don’t believe I can get a fair trial here in Detroit.” when asked about his up coming Federal trial . “I would be better off if they hung me from the giant fist downtown” Kwame jokes.
I think he might be right in a way, This was made evident but the number of journalist that turned out. People still place the blame at his feet. As leader of this city, he failed. In the court of Public Opinion, he has been found guilty. His word is no longer above reproach and his name vilified in Detroit history, That’s where we should leave him. If there was one thing that I can take from him, that would be that we have to let him go mentally as a city. Kwame was absolutely right about that, Until we do that, we will never move forward and identify the real problems of our city, Holla if you hear me!